Alimentation Couche-Tard executives say they are “excited” by the growth and popularity of low-risk smoking products, but are keeping an eye on flavoured e-cigarette pods made by Juul Labs.
California-based Juul elicited controversy when it yanked mango-, fruit- and cucumber-flavoured pods from U.S. shelves in a bid to reduce their appeal to minors, but decided to keep selling its products in Canada.
Brian Hannasch, the Quebec-based convenience store chain’s president and chief executive, says Couche-Tard is focused on making sure it’s not part of the problems associated with such products.
He says Couche-Tard has revisited its processes and practices to ensure it doesn’t sell such items to underage consumers, but wants to work with partners to understand how the products can be sold in a safe way.
Hannasch also says the market has seen enough of a short-term bump from such products that he’s feeling “optimistic” about the future of alternative tobacco products.
Couche-Tard made the comments during a conference call with financial analysts to discuss its latest quarterly results. The company beat expectations as its net earnings rose nine per cent in its most recent quarter thanks in part to acquisitions and lower taxes.